Tis the season of honeymoon specials to far off destinations and we got to thinking of the perfect places for romance across some of our specialist destinations. This is what we came up with…

Africa

Mauritius

Located just off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is an idyllic island offering the ideal escape for a romantic getaway. An island paradise, Mauritius offers gorgeous white sand beaches as well as crystal clear ocean waters. A great destination for honeymooners; Mauritius features a range of beautiful 5 star resorts providing luxury accommodation for your special escape. Furthermore, with everything from water sports, to relaxing spa treatments, there’s something for everyone in Mauritius, with the choice of doing as much or as little as you desire.

Take advantage of our exceptional “Honeymoon in Mauritius” special, offering 6 nights accommodation at the luxurious 5 star Lux* resort.

Indian Subcontinent

Maldives

The Maldives is not one, but a collection of over 1000 coral islands, with roughly 200 inhabited and offering beautiful accommodation. Sit back, relax and appreciate the natural beauty of one of the most picturesque destinations in the world with your special someone.

Its been known to be one of the top honeymoon destinations for decades, and that doesn’t surprise us. What’s more romantic than being with your partner staying on an island in your private beachfront bungalow, on an unspoiled white sandy beach, with azure water shimmering into the horizon, and no one but the two of you to enjoy the Maldives’ remarkable natural beauty. Spend your days taking long romantic walks on the beach; snorkel or dive into the underwater paradise; or simply watch the sun go down and witness a remarkable sunset like no other.

Available for a limited time only is a special offer  “Honeymoon in the Maldives”.  Enjoy 7 nights accommodation at the luxury, Como Cocoa Island enjoying exclusive honeymoon inclusions such as a complimentary 60-minute couples spa treatment.

Croatia

Dubrovnik

With its prime location on the Adriatic Coast providing pristine beaches, palm fringed ports as well as breathtaking sunsets of course; it was hard to choose just one romantic destination in Croatia. Each town has its unique traits of love and romance but Dubrovnik has a magical spark!

Known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik is perhaps the Mediterranean capital of romance. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this humble city is filled with charming sites and of course dazzling beaches. Spend your days walking along limestone streets exploring Gothic and Baroque churches with your special someone in Old Town Dubrovnik. In contrast, you could spend an entire day at the beach; taking romantic walks, going for a swim, basking in the Mediterranean sun and watching spectacular sunsets.’

In addition, if the historic charm and gorgeous coast aren’t enough, did we forget to mention the food and wine? Dubrovnik is home to delectable gourmet food and is only a short drive from some of Croatia’s best wineries.

South America

Buenos Aires

Referred to by many as the “Paris of South America”, its no surprise Buenos Aires is one of South America’s most romantic cities. Be sure to check out the beautiful parks, a gorgeous waterfront, exquisite cathedrals and picturesque city streets; there’s no better place to fall in love all over again. Feel the passion of the tango as you witness dancers on the street, and maybe even take class yourselves; immerse yourself in the culture; explore the city streets; or take a stroll along the Puerto Madero and experience the romantic setting of the riverbank lights reflecting on the water.

Adding to the charm of Buenos Aires is its incredible food. Within the city, you’ll find an array of world-class restaurants serving delicious food as well as providing an intimate ambience.

References: Thank you, Make my Trip, Select Croatia, The Culture Trip

We were excited to read Condé Nast’s Editors’ Picks of “The Best Safari Lodges and Camps in Africa”. Firstly,  because we love to read about Africa but mainly because we discovered that most of our favourites were also the Editor from Condé Nast’s favourites. So read on and discover the 5 we had in common…

andBeyond Kichwa Tembo, Kenya

Situated in the heart of the Masai Mara, andBeyond’s luxury Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp provides guests with luxurious accommodation and world-class service.

Tents are elegant and timeless, achieving the perfect blend of simple contemporary and authentic African style. Enjoy views of the spectacular Mara and get up close with the resident warthogs near the pool.

The tents are luxurious, meals are 5 star and you’re treated to twice daily game drives. What really makes Kichwa Tembo so special, is the staff. This camp is renowned for its welcoming team of Kenyan staff whose impeccable charm and effortless energy warms the hearts and leaves a lasting impression on guests from all over the world.

Mara Plains, Kenya

Built in and around the dense riverine forest on the border of the Masai Mara Conservancy; Great Plains Conservation’s Mara Plains Camp offers superior luxury accommodation with a dedication to conservation and sustainability.

No cement was used in the construction of this camp.  This is to ensure there is no impact on the natural environment, leaving no trace behind.

Along with being sustainable, another reason we love Mara Plains so much is its intimate setting. Accommodating no more than 14 guests at a time, you’ll feel like part of the family when you stay at Mara Plains.

andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas, Tanzania

One of our favourite camps in Tanzania, Serengeti Under Canvas offers everything you could possibly want in a luxury camping experience. Here you will find chandeliers and silverware, beautifully comfortable beds and en suite flush bathrooms.  All perfectly complemented by private butler service.

Only the canvas of your tent separates you from the Serengeti,  you truly are one with the wild at this camp. One of many reasons why we love this camp so much is that its semi permanent and moves according to the Great Migration bringing guests within close range of the massive herds of plains game.

andBeyond use only private campsites for their mobile camps creating an entirely intimate as well as exclusive experience, featuring just nine spacious safari tents including one family tent.

Finally, one of the many highlights is night-time as millions of stars light up the Serengeti Sky.

DumaTau, Botswana

DumaTau means “roar of the lion” .  This beautiful luxury tented camp is located in the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve.  You can expect to see large herds of elephants and brilliant game viewing along the Savute Channel.

What makes this camp extra special is the activities on offer. Unlike many camps that offer only game drives; DumaTau offers, walking safaris as well as boat rides on the Linyanti.   Traverse the wilderness with a spotlight in search for nocturnal animals during after dark game drives.

In addition to these activities, another highlight of DumaTau is the “star bed”; offering guests a luxurious experience sleeping under the stars with prime viewing of the gorgeous Zibadianja Lagoon.

Singita Lebombo, South Africa

The effortlessly elegant Singita Lebombo encompasses modern refined luxury with contemporary earth tones.  You can expect an organically simple yet deluxe atmosphere throughout its thirteen luxury suites and private villa.

Situated within the Kruger National Park, Singita Lebombo offers more than luxury appointed accommodation. Other features of the lodge include a multi-level retreat featuring a library, multi-media room, wine studio and rooftop viewing area.  There is an interactive kitchen as well as a 25-metre lap pool.

The activities on offer at Singita Lebombo are only heightened by its exceptional location within the Singita concession. Well known for the impressive concentration of the ‘Big 5’ and four particularly formidable prides of lions.

Enjoy daily game drives with professional guides and trackers.  These drives provide the opportunity to get up close to Africa’s incredible wildlife.  Discover the magic of nocturnal Africa during the evening game drives.

References:  Thank you andbeyond, Great Plains Conservation, Wilderness Safaris, CN Traveler, Singita Lodge

Situated on the banks of the mysterious Savute Channel, this tented haven provides the perfect base to discover the spectacular flora and fauna of the famed Chobe National Park. Belmond’s Savute Elephant Lodge has recently reopened following exciting renovations exuding a sense of adventure and luxury.

Renovation Overview

History’s greatest explorers have inspired the lodge’s recent renovations; all guest areas and accommodation have been ingeniously designed to induce a sense of adventure and exploration.

The use of eco-friendly and sustainable practices have provided the tents with a natural feeling exuding a feeling of being closer to nature and wildlife than ever before. The newly added features of Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge include a luxury spa, a viewing hide overlooking the waterhole and a stunning fire pit with impressive views of the Savute Channel

Accommodation

Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge features 12 luxuriously appointed tented rooms raised on wooden platforms providing expansive views of the roaming elephants and the Savute Channel.

Each room features air-conditioning, as well as a spacious four-poster bed complete with mosquito netting ensuring a comfortable and peaceful nights sleep. In addition, rooms feature a spacious en suite bathroom a large private deck and a fully stocked minibar.

One of many highlights of these gorgeous rooms is the beautiful outdoor shower. There’s nothing like taking a shower while being surrounded by the spectacular wilderness.

Activities

Game Drives

The lodge offers, early morning and afternoon game drives providing ample opportunities for you to encounter the largest population of elephants in Africa. The area is also home to lions, wild dogs, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas. Depending on the season, you may also witness the second largest migration of zebra in Africa.

Stargazing

The lack of light pollution coupled with the vast open spaces in the park make it perfect for stargazing across the African Sky. Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge provides powerful telescopes for you to witness constellations you may never have seen before. You’ll also learn how Bushmen used the stars to locate the true south.

Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge has many more activities on offer, including, bird watching, Boma dinners, and much more.

Dining

An all-inclusive stay; breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the price of your stay at Belmond Savute Safari Lodge. With everything from light breakfasts before early morning game drives and delectable afternoon lunches in the warm African sun to communal or private dinners, the culinary delights are sure to excite your tastebuds.

Enjoy beautiful Boma dinners comprising of delicious dishes, fire and music all in one unforgettable night. Appreciate beautifully barbecued meats and other delicacies as the lodge whisks you away to a land that time forgot.

If you prefer a more intimate and private setting, experience a meal your very own private deck. Enjoy skilfully curated dishes and fine wines served by your personal butler for the night. Experience your beautiful surrounds by candlelight with wildlife crossing the horizon.

Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge is your next home away from home. Newly renovated; the lodge caters to your every need and encompasses a timeless elegance and luxury with the heart of the African wilderness.

References: Thank you, Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge

Winner of countless awards worldwide including 2018 Skytrax (UK) “Airline of the Year” (4 times) and Travel & Leisure Magazine (USA) “World’s Best International Airline” (23rd consecutive year), Singapore Airlines never cease to provide world-class service flying from Australia to over 100 destinations worldwide.

Here’s why they are one of our favourite airlines…

Cabins

Suites

Singapore Airlines Suites are available exclusively on the Airbus 380-800 aircraft. Each individual cabin has its own sliding door as well as window blinds providing as much privacy as desired. The area is so spacious, it has room for a standalone bed, completely separate from your seat. If you’re travelling with a partner, adjacent suites can be converted into a double room; creating double bed and space for two.

Suites are complete with a 23-inch personal LCD TV with Bose noise-cancelling headphones. On select flights, you can stay in touch with family and friends with Internet connectivity.

Enjoy restaurant service on board with full table service, and wines to match the food and altitude. Additionally, feel free to “Book the Cook” up to 24 hours before you fly; choose from an array of dishes created by notable chefs from Singapore Airlines’ International Culinary Panel.

The new Airbus A380 aircraft features enhanced luxury suites, expect the comforts of the other suites plus more. Experience well-appointed, spacious lavatories with a sit-down vanity counter, complete with an exquisite range of toiletries. Furthermore, enjoy a swivel reclinable to 45° leather upholstered chair as well as a 32-inch touchscreen monitor.  The touch controls on the cabinet and a handheld wireless tablet sees everything at your fingertips; tap for service or even to control the lighting.

First Class

Available on the Boeing 777–300ER and the refitted Boeing 777–300 aircraft, Singapore Airlines’ First class offers world-class luxury while you fly.

Featuring a generous 35-inch seat extending 82 inches complete with linen, duvet and pillows providing you with greater sleeping comfort.

Like the suites, first class offers a 24-inch personal LCD TV as well as Internet connectivity on select flights. Furthermore, you are able to “Book the Cook” 24 hours before your flight.

Business Class
Airbus A380–800, Boeing 777–300ER, and refitted Boeing 777–200ER

The forward facing 1-2-1-cabin layout offers direct access to the aisle from every seat ensuring ultimate comfort for you and other passengers. The seats offer concealed stowage space to place your personal belongings. They also convert into a spacious fully flat bed complete with linen and pillows.

Like the suites and First Class you have the opportunity to “Book the Cook” 24 hours before your flight.

In flight entertainment offers a 15.4-inch wide LCD screen with noise-cancelling headphones and Internet connectivity on selected flights.

A350 and retrofitted Boeing 777-300ER

The newer Business Class seats offer two seating positions: the Lazy Z – a cradling position that ensures your weight is centred and balanced when you’re sitting down, and the Sundeck – a lounging position that extends the base and foot of your seat so that you can stretch and rest your legs on the ottoman.

The 28-inch wide seat converts into a fully flat bed with a cushioned headboard for superior sleeping comfort, complete with linen, duvet and pillows.

Entertainment features a video touchscreen handset, and an 18-inch HD enabled personal LCD TV with noise-cancelling headphones. In addition selected flights also offer Internet connectivity on selected flights.

Furthermore, like the suites and First Class you have the opportunity to “Book the Cook”  24 hours before your flight.

Airbus A380-800

The newest of the Business Class range, the Airbus 380 offers all the features of the other two Business Classes with a few extra comforts.

The two centre seats in the A380 come with a personal divider that spans the entire length of the seat. It can be raised completely for total privacy, raised mid-level to chat with a friend or can be fully lowered to create a double bed.

In flight entertainment features an 18-inch HD touchscreen monitor paired with noise-cancelling headphones as well as Internet access on select flights.

A380 Business Class offers a truly personalised food experience with the option to “Book the Cook” prior to your flight. Furthermore, meals are paired with champagne and wines from the finest vineyards around the world.

Premium Economy Class

Available progressively on the Airbus A380-800, Airbus A350, and Boeing 777–300ER aircraft, Singapore Airline’s Premium Economy offers a spacious cabin with superior comfort as well as priority boarding, check in and more.

The 2-4-2 layout and wider seats ensure extra comfort for the duration of your flight. Seats recline up to 8 inches and feature, a calf-rest as well as a footrest, built into the seat.

Storage at your seat includes dedicated stowage areas for your water bottle, laptop, headphones and other personal items.

With Premium Economy; you have the opportunity to order your main course from a variety of Premium Economy “Book the Cook” dishes up to 24 hours before you fly; or select from three meal choices on board.

In flight entertainment includes a video touchscreen handset, and 13.3-inch HD enabled touchscreen monitor with noise-cancelling headphones. Like the other classes there is also Internet access on selected flights.

Economy Class

Economy on Singapore Airlines offers comfortable seats with adjustable cushioned headrests. You have the opportunity to choose a seat with legroom or cabin seats for a small additional charge.

Passengers with special dietary requirements can choose a special meal to meet their needs when booking their flight.

Depending on the aircrafts, the screens vary from 9 inches or 11.1 inches.  All screens have touchscreen capabilities on the A380 Airbus, A350 and retrofitted Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Lounges

Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris Lounge has been designed around the concept of “home”. The lounge showcases Singapore Airlines’ unique heritage distinguished by a customised batik design screen in the welcome foyer.

Within the lounge, customers can experience the familiarity of home with unique spaces modelled after living, dining rooms and kitchens. Specially designed productivity pods provide customers with the privacy and comfort to work peacefully. In addition, signature Singapore Airlines armchairs will be a new feature at all refurbished SilverKris Lounges.

There are SilverKris Lounges in Singapore, New Delhi, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Taipei, Seoul, London, and most Australian cities.  The lounges are accessible for Business and First Class, Suites passengers as well as Gold Star Alliance, Krisflyer and Velocity members.

Flying with Singapore also means you have access to various partner lounges in most major cities across the world.

Loyalty Programs

KrisFlyer

Singapore Airlines’ frequent flyer program KrisFlyer is designed to provide passengers with rewards for flying with Singapore Airlines and its partner airlines. In addition to earning KrisFlyer miles every time you fly; you can also get them whenever you use co-branded or affiliated credit cards, book a hotel or hire a car with one of the Airline’s 200+ non-airline partners. The KrisFlyer program is free to join.

KrisFlyer has three tiers of membership– KrisFlyer Elite Silver,  KrisFlyer Elite Gold and KrisFlyer.

You can choose to redeem your miles on flights to over 1,000 destinations in more than 170 countries, as well as with upgrades on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and partner airlines. Furthermore, you can combine your miles and cash to pay for all or a part of your airfare on singaporeair.com.

KrisFlyer members enjoy additional benefits, including discounts on advance seat selection,  pre-purchased additional baggage, and more.

PPS Club

As a PPS Club member, you’ll have access to a variety of benefits including lounges worldwide, a larger check-in baggage allowance, and other special privileges.

To be a part of the PPS Club, you have to earn 25,000 in PPS Value within 12 consecutive months. Membership lasts for 12 months. To renew your PPS Club membership for another year, you must earn a total of 25,000 in PPS Value during each year of membership.

When you fly in Suites, First Class or Business Class on Singapore Airlines, or Business Class on SilkAir, you earn PPS Value, which goes toward your PPS Club status.

The PPS Value is based on your total airfare and applicable surcharge but not airport taxes. It’s calculated in Singapore dollars, so if your ticket has been purchased in a different currency, the cost will be converted into Singapore dollars to determine your PPS Value

Rewards you can earn include, double KrisFlyer Miles and a 50,000 miles discount off a one-class redemption upgrade or off an award flight.

Above the regular PPS Club, there’s the Solitaire PPS Club for which you need to earn 50,000 in total PPS Value within your PPS Club membership year. To renew your membership you must earn a total of 50,000 in PPS Value during each Solitaire PPS Club membership year.

Privileges of the Solitaire PPS Club include, First Class check in at any airport when flying with Singapore Airlines or Silk Air, priority immigration and much more.

Singapore Airlines together with SilkAir and Scoot flies to 137 international destinations (including seasonal destinations) in 32 countries on five continents from its primary hub in Singapore. So, next time you are looking to take to the skies be sure to check out Singapore Airlines.  Remember, our team of specialists have access to some great rates and offers. We would love the opportunity to work with you in creating your ultimate getaway.

We’ve told you where to party in Croatia, we’ve shared some awesome cruise deals, we’ve sent you off the beaten track and told you about the local cuisine you simply have to sample. Now let us share with you some pretty awesome walking trails to check out on your next Croatian getaway…

Risnjak National Park

Located in the mountainous region of Gorski Kotar between Karlovac and Rijeka; Risnjak National Park is rich with dense forests, open meadows and exciting wildlife. The park offers a great range of hikes and walks to suit beginners and advanced walkers.

The park got its name from the lynx wildcat, ‘ris’ in Croatian, and fitting the name, Risnjak is packed with wildlife including species of brown bears, wolves and deer.

One of the most popular routes is the hike from the main entrance to the 1,528m high peak, Veliki Risnjak. 3 hours each way, when at the summit, you’ll find the beautiful Schlosser’s mountain hut; one of the most picturesque huts in all of Croatia. The hike is suitable for beginners and experienced climbers, however during winter, it’s strongly advised that only experienced climbers tackle the trek.

The national park offers a great range of other high peaks, great for walkers and hikers. These include Snježnik (1,505m high), Gornji Medvejci (1,461m high), Jelenc (1,442m high), Lazačka glavica (1,426m high) and Planina (1,425m high).

Paklenica National Park

South of the Velebit mountain range, Paklencia National park covers an area of roughly 100 square km and is the most visited climbing site in Croatia. The park features a mixture of high peaks with gorgeous views, deep gorges as well as beech and pine forests.

Two of the park’s most well known canyons, Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica. (Big and small Paklenica). The canyons offer some of the most picturesque hikes and walking trails in Croatia.

Recommended day hikes include a 4hr (return) hike up to Anića Kuk featuring incredible views of all of Zadar county and the bay of Starigrad.

Another popular one is an 8hr (return) hike up to Sveto Brdo, the 2nd highest peak of Velebit Mountain. Great panoramic views as well as high mountain meadows.

Učka Nature Park

Situated in the Dinara Mountain range, Ucka Nature Park offers beautiful lush forest vegetation, spacious grasslands and spectacular views on Kvarner bay and Istria. Covering approximately 160 km2, it extends along the eastern coast of the Istrian peninsula. The highlight of the park is Učka Moountain; the highest Istrian mountain.

Offering various walks and hikes, one can’t possibly visit the mountain without hiking to the highest peak, Vojak (1401 m) and its stone tower-viewing point. On a clear day, you’re rewarded with views of Istria, Kvarner and the central Dalmatian islands, Gorski Kotar as well as the peaks of the Italian Alps and even Venice. The hike itself takes roughly half a day and there’s nothing better than watching the sunset from the top of the peak.

Thank you to, Climb Europe, The travels of Bbqboy and Spanky, The Culture Trip, Visit Croatia, Opatija & Manus Villa

Africa is a great place to take the family, and what better way to spend time with the family than on a safari in the African bush. Join us as we compare and contrast the Family Safaris on offer including the Botswana Family Safari, the Kruger Family Safari and the South Africa Family Safari.

Botswana Family Safari

This exciting 9 day safari will transport your family into a whole new world as you traverse the spectacular game reserves in Botswana and explore the breathtaking Victoria Falls.

Your adventure begins at the world famous, Victoria Falls. Here, you will spend 3 nights at the Victoria Falls Safari Suites. Spend your days with the family exploring the falls. Engage in optional activities including a tour of the Falls, a flight over the Falls or a sunset river cruise. Victoria Falls is one of the main highlights of this safari, because, its the only one out of the three with a visit.

After your trip to Victoria Falls, the family adventure continues as you venture to Chobe National Park. Here, you will spend the next 2 nights at Chobe Elephant Camp. Located high on the edge of a rocky ridge overlooking the famous Chobe River and Chobe National Park; this luxury camp offers a wide variety of activities including game drives in open safari vehicles viewing the region’s spectacular wildlife. Additionally, explore the reserve by boat on the Chobe River or on foot in the surrounding Forest Reserve.

The family safari concludes in the beautiful Moremi Game Reserve where you’ll stay at the gorgeous Okuti Camp. This intimate camp caters to only 18 guests at a time. The camp provides families with special attention meeting their each and every need. The camp itself is in a prime game viewing area offering 4×4 game drives, motorboat safaris as well as bird watching at the heronry.

Kruger Family Safari

Much shorter than the other two safaris, the Kruger Family Safari is only 5 days long; but provides the perfect amount of time to explore Kruger and engage in exciting game drives.

Spend 4 nights with the family at the Kapama River Lodge. Enjoy this impressive location within the Kruger National Park. There are morning and afternoon game drives to participate in, as well as bush walking. Furthermore, if you need some down time, what’s better than relaxing at the lodge enjoying your luxurious surrounds?

Making this safari extra special; African Travel Specialists have an exclusive offer where kids between 3 and 11 stay for FREE!

South Africa Family Safari

The longest of the three; the South Africa Family Safari spans across 11 days, taking you and your family through outstanding areas to see wildlife as well as South Africa’s culture and history.

Your first three nights are spent at the beautiful, Hippo Hollow in Hazyview overlooking the Sabie River. Your stay includes a full day Panorama route tour. Taking you through the Sabie River Valley boasting a rich history and spectacular scenery. The tour continues through Graskop; where you can enjoy the breathtaking sights of God’s Window, the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, as well as Berlin and Lisbon Falls.

Enjoy optional activities such as hiking, quad biking, horse riding, as well as visits to the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Shangaan Tribal Village or Chimpanzee Eden.

The family adventure continues to Manyeleti Game Reserve where you’ll spend three nights in the family friendly, Honeyguide Khoka Moya Tented Camp. Luxurious and accommodating, tents are spacious and offer space to comfortably fit a family of four. Special activities for children at the camp include beading and educational walks.

Spend your days with the family on exciting early morning game drives as well as late afternoon/evening game drives with sundowners, views over the Mohwareng Hills, and glimpses of nocturnal animals.

Your last few days are spent in Cape Town staying in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront area at the Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel. The package includes a two-day hop on/hop off bus tour on board an open top, double decker bus. This tour offers a 360° experience of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Enjoy quality family time at leisure enjoying the many activities in and around Cape Town; including Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope, as well as the beautiful winery areas of Stellenbosch or Paarl. If desired, tours and activities can be pre-booked through African Travel Specialists.

Each of the three Family Safari’s have their own individual highlights. Whether you’re short on or have ample time, we’ve got the family safari to suit you and your family’s needs.

Not only is it one of the most enigmatic places in the world, but also as Cuba emerges from a 1950s time warp there is a lot to be excited about. Our South American Travel Specialists share why you should consider Cuba as well as a few handy travel tips…

Cuban Beaches

Cuba is filled with hundreds of beaches spread across the Northern Atlantic Ocean and South Caribbean coast. Lined with white sand and offering breathtaking ocean views, there’s nothing more picturesque.

Some of our favourite beaches are situated in the popular resort town of Guardalavaca; famous for its warm turquoise waters and glistening white sand beaches. Popular beaches include, Esmeralda and Pesquero; complete with crystal clear waters offering widespread offshore coral reefs featuring abundant marine life. 

Another favourite, Playa Ancón situated in Trinidad; unlike Guardalavaca, Playa Ancón is much quieter and less touristy. With roughly 4km of beautiful white sand, the beach offers ample opportunities for snorkelling and scuba diving in the warm Caribbean waters.

Vintage Cars

There’s truly nowhere else in the world where you’ll find this many vintage American cars. Since the American trade embargo in 1960, Cuba has maintained the original class of its classic cars.

Havana without a doubt is the best place to see them and take a ride. You’ll find that these cars have been exquisitely maintained and impressively so without access to original spare parts.

Explore the streets and discover an array of cars you thought you’d never see again; take pictures, have a chat to the drivers and embrace the living history.

Cuban Cigars

Authentic Cuban Cigars are perhaps what Cuba is most famous for. There are a few areas renowned for their high quality tobacco, Vinales and Pinar del Río being our top picks. 

Enjoy walking tours of tobacco plantations and cigar factories to get an in depth insight from local farmers and workers about how the famous “Cuban Cigars” are created.

Tobacco continues to be a prominent part of Cuba’s economy and there’s nothing like the opportunity to experience the cigar production from behind-the-scenes.

Travel Tips

  • Make sure you get a Cuban visa before you travel
  • Learn a little Spanish before you go
  • Bring Euros or GBP rather than AUD because the exchange rate is better
  • Explore the museums and embrace the culture
  • Have fun!

There’s so much to see and do in this spectacular country. From the exciting Havana with its vintage cars to the historic Trinidad, and Vinales, famous for growing tobacco for the famous Cuban cigars; wherever in Cuba you go, there’s an exciting adventure just round the corner.

Thanks to, Beach Tomato, Escape Here, Y Travel Blog & The Culture Trip

India offers diversity, culture and colour, its true, but what about the opportunity to rebalance, rejuvenate and revitalise?! Here’s two of our favourite Yoga and Wellness retreat centres in India…

Carnoustie

An award winning retreat featured in Forbes’ “5 Top Wellness Retreats for Ultimate Renewal 2017”; Carnoustie Ayurveda and wellness resort offers luxury accommodation, and facilities to truly rejuvenate and relax.

Villas

The retreat offers various beautifully furnished villas, each complete with a private pool and deck. Each villa has been designed to create a stunning fusion of traditional & modern Kerala architecture. Rooms are well appointed, featuring lavish bathrooms as well as a walk-in wardrobe. With high attention to detail to ensure guests are well taken care of during their holiday escape.

Houseboat

The air-conditioned Carnoustie House boat features an open lounge, living room, sundeck, separate dining area as well as a kitchenette and bathroom. Two cruises operate, a Lunch cruise and a Dinner Cruise with High Tea. Cruise the backwaters of Aleppey with its enchanting landscape, featuring the golden stretch of beach and the Arabian Sea, networked by rivers, fresh water lakes, tranquil lagoons and resplendent palm groves.

Activities

Carnoustie offers a range of activities including, bike rides through local villages, morning yoga sessions near the beach, visits to sacred temples, houseboat cruises and much more.

Ayurveda & Yoga

Carnoustie highly promotes the Ayurveda lifestyle and offers a wide range of treatments to its guests. The Carnoustie Ayurveda & Wellness Resort is an award winning luxury Ayurveda Resort, offering guests all-inclusive treatments, encompassing true Ayurveda. Treatments on offer include, healing, rejuvenation, detoxes  anti ageing and more.

 Somatheeram Village, Kerala

Operating for over 20 years, at Somatheeram, Ayurveda is the foundation of the resort. Founder, Dr. Polly Matthew created an Ayurvedic centre that executed his vision of providing Ayurveda, yoga and meditation in a peaceful and captivating setting while at the same time reflecting India’s culture and beauty.

Accommodation
Sidhartha villa

Deluxe suites, featuring a spacious living area and open air bathroom as well as its own terrace offering unparalleled views of the sea.

Kerala Houses

Up to 300 years old, the Kerala Houses were once the traditional homes of southern India’s aristocracy. Renovated and restored, distinctive features include antique doors and furniture. There are standard as well as deluxe houses, with the deluxe units being slightly more spacious and some featuring a separate living room.

Cottages

Built using natural stone in traditional South Indian style; there are three types of cottages available, the deluxe cottages, special cottages and standard cottages. Deluxe cottages have beautiful views of the Arabian Sea as well as a spacious layout with lots of natural light. Special cottages are located close to the ocean featuring a private outdoor area. Lastly, Standard cottages offer a simple yet traditional design and offer Ayurvedic treatments at special rates. 

SAMANA Ayurveda Hotel

At the SAMANA Ayurveda Hotel, guests can benefit from more than 20 years of experience in the Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort. There are both standard and deluxe rooms. Beautifully furnished standard rooms feature en-suite bathrooms. Deluxe rooms feature all features of a standard as well as a balcony.

Ayurveda & Yoga

Since 1997, the Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort has been the named the Best Ayurvedic centre in Kerala. You can be sure that treatments you receive here are of the best quality and provided with the utmost care and dedication.

On offer are a range of treatment packages including the rejuvenation package, the body immunisation package and more.

Yoga and meditation are integral parts of the Ayurveda lifestyle, and whether you’re a beginner or an expert, the extensive experience of the yoga teachers at Somatheeram is sure to help you truly embrace the Ayurveda approach to life.

Thanks to, CarnoustieSomatheeram

The closest animal to humans; the gorilla population in Africa is facing many threats to survival. Find out why mountain gorillas are critically endangered and what we can all do to help save this precious species…

With just over 1000 mountain gorillas left in the wild, conservation is imperative. Combined efforts have led to a slow increase after a rapid decline in previous years.

Mountain gorillas are the largest of the living primates, measuring between 4 and 6 feet and weighing roughly 135 – 220kg. They have muscular arms, a broad chest, and large hands and feet. Their thick black hair keeps them warm and provides insulation.

Mountain gorillas live on the green, volcanic slopes of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo; spread across four national parks – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda), Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda), Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda), and Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo).

They are extremely sociable and live in large groups of up to 40, led by the dominant male known as the ‘silverback’; characterised by the patch of silver hair on his back. Known as troops, groups of gorillas comprise of the silverback as well as several other young males, some females, and their offspring.

Threats

Poaching

One of the main threats facing mountain gorillas, and gorillas in general is humans. Not surprisingly, trophy hunting and poaching in the 60s and 70s contributed significantly to the rapid population decline. Poaching continues to be a real threat with infant gorillas being captured for the live animal trade.

Habitat Loss

The current prominent threat to the mountain gorilla population is habitat loss due to the increasing human population. Forest clearance and degradation, for agricultural purposes has significantly cut down the natural habitat of the gorillas. Furthermore, competition for limited natural resources such as firewood has left less space for mountain gorillas to live in peace.

Disease

Because humans share so much DNA with gorillas, they are highly susceptible to many of the same diseases. Unlike humans, gorillas haven’t developed the necessary immunities against illness. Thus, first time exposure to a disease or virus harmless to humans could potentially wipe out an entire population.

Conservation

Many initiatives have been put in place to increase the mountain gorilla population; and it has been working as the population is slowly increasing. However, they continue to face major threats from habitat loss and poaching.

Volcanoes Safaris

The Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT), established in 2009, is a non-profit organisation connecting Volcanoes’ Rwanda and Uganda luxury lodges with the neighbouring communities to promote conservation.

The VSPT work with local communities to create long-term, self-sustaining projects improving the livelihoods of local communities whilst promoting the conservation of gorillas. VSPT help to restore natural habitats and work with communities and institutions to reduce human-wildlife conflict.

VSPT believe that ensuring the survival of the mountain gorilla begins with helping the people that live near them. If local communities can sustain themselves without further deforestation for agriculture, the population of mountain gorillas should continue to increase.

The VSPT receives funding from guest and private donations as well as Volcanoes Safaris themselves, who contribute $100 from each safari booking. If you want to get involved with VSPT, visit their website to find out more.

Thank you, WWF, International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), National Geographic, African Wildlife Foundation & Volcanoes Safaris

The Himalayas offer an abundance of experiences from yoga and meditation, to festivals and hiking and so much more. Surround yourself in truly stunning landscapes whilst engaging in an array of activities and experiences. Let us share with you what to expect on your unforgettable Himalayan journey.

Yoga & Meditation

The Himalayas offer perhaps the perfect location for yoga as well as meditation. With the most spectacular natural surrounds, there’s nowhere else in the world that offers such beauty and remoteness.

There’s a range of yoga and mediation tours available taking you through to beautiful retreats tailored to provide you with a rejuvenating spiritual experience through the Himalayas.

Festivals

Most people wouldn’t expect such a remote region to be exceptionally well known for its festivals; but let us assure you, the Himalayas is the place to be for vibrant spectacles showcasing the best of Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan culture. Here’s just a few…

Taking place in Ladakh, one of the most popular festivals is the Hemis Festival. Held over two days, it celebrates the victory of good over evil. Dedicated to the birth of Buddhist Lord Padmasambhava – the founder of Vajrayana Buddhism in Ladakh, Hemis festival is celebrated on the 10th day of the Tibetan lunar month.

Celebrated throughout the Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh, Halda, brings in the New Year by paying tribute to Shashikar Apa, the goddess of wealth. Festivities take place over two days and include musical acts, bonfires, dancing, as well as a delicious feast.

A three-day festival celebrating the Tibetan New Year, Losar is one of Buddhism’s biggest festivals in Himachal Pradesh. Celebrated according to the lunar calendar, the date varies each year but the festivities remain the same. Celebrated by worshipping the local deity of the monastery to bring peace, happiness and good fortune for the coming year. One of many festivities includes impressive musical performances featuring elaborate masks and costumes as well as dancing and singing.

Monasteries

The Himalayan region features some of the most beautiful monasteries in the world. Home to thousands of Buddhist monks, these monasteries have been around for centuries. Here’s of the must see monasteries in the Himalayas…

Situated in Bhutan, the Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang) is said to be one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan. It’s where Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava, appeared roughly 1,300 years ago on the back of a flying tigress. Finding shelter in a series of caves, he meditated for three years then set out to convert the Bhutanese to Buddhism. First constructed in 1692, the monastery features multiple renovations with major reconstruction in 2005 after a fire devastated the site in 1998.

Located at the top of a hill in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, the Ki (or Key) monastery is said to be one of the oldest and largest in the area. Also a religious training centre for lamas, the monastery houses and educates roughly 300 lamas. Believed to be over 1000 years old; over the years the monastery faced countless devastations including attacks by Mongols in the 17th century as well as earthquakes and fires. Despite the damages and with many renovations, the monastery stands tall atop the hill.

Furthermore, the Himalayas feature countless other striking monasteries including, Thiksey Monastery, Dhankar Monastery and Hemis Monastery.

Hiking & Trekking

The Himalayan region is perhaps the best in the world for hiking as well as trekking. It has 8 of the 14 highest summits in the world that exceed an altitude of 8,000m, including Mount Everest (8,848m).

You can trek at anytime throughout the year, depending what route you choose to take. The most popular times are Spring (February – May) and Autumn (September – November).

Within Nepal, our favourite trekking regions are the Annapurna Region, the Everest Region and the Langtang Region.

Popular treks in the Annapurna Region include the Annapurna Circuit, the Kali Gandaki Gorge, the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, the Jomsom Trek and the Muktinath Trek.

The highest peak in the world, Everest, offers a range of different routes; trek to the top of the summit and back down, or trek the top and fly back or fly to the top and fly back. Common treks include, Kosi, Namache Bazaar and Phaplu.

Situated north of Kathmandu, the Langtang region offers three fairly short but exciting treks: Langtang, Helambu and Gosainkund.

For more information on these treks and to book, contact India Tours and Travel Specialists.

The Himalayas offer a range of exciting adventures that open your eyes into the spectacular natural beauty and history as well as the riveting culture of one of the world’s most beautiful regions.

References: Thank you, Culture Trip, Atlas Obscura, National Geographic, Amusing Planet, BBC UKBharat Online